Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies On Site

DIJ Newsletter 76

Summer 2024

Welcome to the Summer 2024 issue!
It sounds like an April Fool's joke in the middle of June: to combat the record low birthrate, Tokyo's Metropolitan Government plans to launch its own dating app this summer. The government wants to give all single Tokyoites who are not actively looking for a partner a "gentle push to find one". Criticism was not long in coming: aren't there already enough dating apps? Do we need to waste taxpayers' money on this? Is the low birthrate really due to a lack of contact opportunities or perhaps also to the enormously high cost of living in Japan's capital? On July 7, the people of Tokyo can elect a new governor. While incumbent governor Yuriko Koike is promoting "Tokyo Major Reform 3.0" with “Safe City”, “Diver City” (meant as a pun on diversity), and “Smart City” as key slogans, her main rival Renho is promising to increase the disposable income of young people as a "genuine measure" against the falling birthrate. Voting by app is not yet possible.
In this DIJ Newsletter we introduce new team members, recent and forthcoming publications, upcoming and past events, outreach activities, and Alumni news.
We hope you will enjoy exploring this edition of the DIJ Newsletter. If you haven't yet done so, you can subscribe to receive it directly to your inbox here. We also welcome your feedback and email address updates via email to newsletter@dijtokyo.org
From all of us at the DIJ: stay cool and dry in this extreme summer weather!
Torsten Weber

Research News ・Neues aus der Forschung ・研究活動ニュース

Photo © DIJ
Knowledge Production and Infrastructures
How is knowledge produced and through which infrastructures is it spread? With a focus on these questions, our new Knowledge Lab: Knowledge Production and Knowledge Infrastructures promotes transdisciplinary exchange at the DIJ. Using our research projects as examples, it illustrates the situatedness and the communicative character of knowledge production and knowledge infrastructures. This provides new insights into the complexity and context-dependency of knowledge, which can also contribute to the analysis of socio-political discourses in Japan, Germany, and globally. The knowledge lab is led by Harald Kümmerle.

Forthcoming Publications ・Erscheint in Kürze ・ 近刊

Cover © SpringerLink

Book on Japanese Mann Translations
In her forthcoming open access book Japanese Thomas Mann translation between cultural heteronomy and emancipation (in German), Nicole Marion Mueller uses innovative digital methods to study Japanese translation pluralism in the 20th century. Focusing on Thomas Mann's novel Tonio Kröger, which has been re-translated into Japanese over a dozen times, she not only demonstrates the intensive reception of Mann's literary works in Japan. Through her mixed methods approach based on digital topic modeling, Nicole also makes accessible previously hidden interactions between the re-translated texts and their historical contexts.

Cover © Campus

Book on Korean-Japanese Interactions
What role did Korean students who came to Japan between 1880 and 1923 play in the discourse on Japan's colonial and East Asian policies? How did their exchange with Japanese intellectuals of Protestant faith, especially in the environment of the YMCA and the Imperial University of Tokyo, influence their views? Drawing on a wide range of Japanese and Korean sources, Dolf-Alexander Neuhaus' forthcoming book Beyond Nation and Empire (in German) examines how these students and intellectuals discussed Japanese colonial rule in Korea and the 'Korean question' in relation to regional and global contexts and how their ideas influenced Korea's reform and independence movement.
Recent journal articles and book chapters by DIJ researchers:

DIJ News Aus dem DIJ研究所ニュース


Join the DIJ's Administration Team
The DIJ is looking for a Japanese native speaker to support its administration in the planning and implementation of events; the procurement of contracts to Japanese companies and partners; communication with Japanese authorities, companies and cooperation partners; visa matters; and other organisational tasks and general support for the institute's team. If you are a good team player, have very good knowledge of German and English, and are confident in using office software, we look forward to receiving your application by 15 July 2024.

Photo © private

New PhD Student at the DIJ
In April Wolfgang Thiele (History, FU Berlin) has joined the DIJ as a PhD student. He researches the Taiwan independence movement since 1945 within a global framework. One focus lies on the relationship of Taiwanese independence movement activists with the Socialist Party of Japan and the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan. He also aims to situate the Taiwanese independence movement’s history within discourses on decolonization and the dissolution of empires in the 20th century from a global history perspective while shedding light on the role of post-war Japan in these processes.

Photo © private

Introducing Our Intern Myrto Hirche
Since June Myrto Hirche has been supporting our team as an intern. She is particularly interested in the DIJ’s research cluster “Sustainability and Resilience” and in how communities deal with societal and demographic shifts. During her internship, Myrto mainly assists Sebastian Polak-Rottmann with his research on rural Japan. If you are interested in joining our team as an intern, please see our guidelines here (in German). We look forward to your application!

Photos © private

New DIJ Advisory Board Members
We are very pleased to announce that in June Ina Hein (University of Vienna), Karin Hoisl (Mannheim University), Atsuko Kawakita (University of Tokyo), and Gabriele Vogt (LMU Munich) have joined the DIJ's academic advisory board. We look forward to their input and advice on the institute's further development and to welcoming the new members personally in Tokyo during the next advisory board meeting in April 2025.

Upcoming Event Kommende Veranstaltung今後のイベント


Imagined Futures in Japan and Beyond
From 9 to 11 October the DIJ, in collaboration with the German Centre for Research and Innovation (DWIH) Tokyo, will host an interdisciplinary workshop that delves into both fictional and nonfictional portrayals of Japan’s technological future. The workshop will juxtapose these visions with those from other cultures and analyze them through the lens of 'narrative' and 'socio-technical imaginary' theoretical frameworks. Please check our event website for details and updates.

Past Events Vergangene Veranstaltungen最近のイベント

Photo © DIJ

DIJ Forum on 'The Promise of Freedom'
Taking the example of modern Japanese history, the DIJ Forum 'Promise of Freedom: Rethinking Modernity and World War II' with Takashi Fujitani (University of Toronto) and Jordan Sand (Georgetown University & Kokugakuin University) critically discussed the relationship between freedom and power. In their presentations, the speakers addressed the complicity of freedom with the oppressions that have accompanied nationalism, imperialism, colonialism, the "emperor system", and various forms of social discrimination. The event was fully booked with 50 guests at the DIJ.

Photo © DIJ

Workshop Discusses Sustainability Issues
The one-day workshop 'Building a Sustainable Future: Integrating Consumption, Finance, and Education' delved into the interconnected issues of sustainability. Together, these interwoven spheres of consumption, finance, and education create a framework that fosters innovation, promotes responsible resource management, and drives positive social and environmental outcomes. Jointly organized by the DIJ and the German Center for Research and Innovation (DWIH) Tokyo, the workshop brought together eight experts who shared their views and latest research on different aspects of sustainability.

Photo © DIJ

European-Japanese Dialogue on China
Partner, competitor, opponent? Despite China’s indisputable economic and geopolitical importance, Europe and Japan are still searching for an appropriate approach to dealing with China. The conference 'How to Deal With China', hosted by the DIJ and co-organized with Global Asia Studies (Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, University of Tokyo) and the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, brought together eight European and Japanese experts on China with backgrounds in business and academia to discuss and weigh diverse perspectives, experiences, and recommendations for a sound China strategy. A report on this event will be published shortly.

DIJ in the Media ・ In den Medienメディアで知るDIJ

Screenshot © DLF

DIJ Expertise in German Media
For an article published in the May issue of the German monthly Cicero, DIJ director Franz Waldenberger explained the gaps between Japan's economic growth policies and the reality of economic stagnation. In April, he commented in the German daily Berliner Morgenpost on how the shortage of skilled labour in Japan has been changing the Japanese economy and society. In May, Franz Waldenberger was interviewed by German radio DLF on Japan's EV strategy. He explained how Japan's auto industry tries to catch up through state-sponsored tech collaborations.

Alumni News Unsere Ehemaligen DIJ 同窓会

© 内閣府, CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Alumni Receive Orders of the Rising Sun
We are very proud to announce that in April two former DIJ research fellows were awarded Orders of the Rising Sun by the Japanese Government. Hilaria Gössmann (1992–95) was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver. Heinrich Menkhaus (1989–93) received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette (photo). Our warmest congratulations to both!
If you are part of the growing group of DIJ alumni and have recently published a book or have any other news to share with us, please contact us via newsletter@dijtokyo.org

Social Media Soziale Medienソーシャルメディア

Screenshot © LinkedIn

More DIJ News on LinkedIn!
In September, the next issue of the DIJ Newsletter will provide you with updates from our institute again. If you don't want to wait until autumn, we invite you to join our currently 837 followers of the DIJ's social media account on LinkedIn. This way you will be the first to receive announcements of upcoming events, new publications, other activities of our institute and its researchers, job and fellowship advertisements ー and birthday wishes to prominent speakers at DIJ events (see photo). Follow us here!
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